Leading a healthy lifestyle has become more prevalent these days. In fact, a survey has found that 62% of Americans consider their health more important than before the pandemic. Aside from eating a well-balanced diet, one of the most beneficial things one can do for their health is to get regular physical activity. This can improve your brain health, reduce the risk of diseases, and improve your ability to do daily activities.

To get started with moving more, try maximizing the fitness benefits of walking. Here are five tips on how you can do just that:

Warm-up and cool down properly

Before beginning any kind of exercise, be sure to warm up properly. Doing so activates your cardiovascular system and increases blood flow to your muscles. On the other hand, cooling down after your walk brings your heart rate and blood pressure down gradually.

You can do several types of warm-ups for your legs before going out for a walk. Try movements like ankle circles, leg swings, and hula-hoop jumps. You can also do arm circles and stretches before you take to the pavement.

Walk at least 30 minutes a day

As we discussed in our post on ‘2020’s Health Trends’, having strong muscles is not necessary for good health. Achieving one’s body goal should just be a plus, but it is not more important than having a healthy body. However, movement is unavoidable if you want to improve your fitness. Walking for about 30 minutes daily can help you reach your health goals.

Putting your walking routine on your calendar is an easy yet effective way to start a fitness habit. WeightWatchers points out that taking 10,000 steps a day can do more than just help you lose weight. Not only that, but walking can improve your health by strengthening your heart, reducing your body fat, and stabilizing your blood sugar levels. So, make sure to get your 30 minutes of steps in as a daily habit!

Get the right walking gear

It’s essential to have the right shoes when walking. Appropriate gear helps you stay safe and comfortable and allows you to walk for longer. Physical Activity Field Specialist Nikki Prosch also explains how the right shoe reduces the development of foot issues such as bunions or athlete’s foot. It also prevents injuries that may interrupt your fitness routine.

Aside from your shoes, water bottles and other walking apparel can make your walking routine more enjoyable. You can bring a small, non-BPA bottle for longer walks or if you live in a hot climate. It’s also best to wear bright-colored shirts for visibility, whether you are walking in the daytime or at night.

Make sure to walk briskly

Those who are new to walking can start off with a slower pace. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, gradually increase both the speed and duration of your walk. Your goal should be walking at a speed that is at least twice as fast as a stroll, or about three to four miles per hour.

Remember that while walking is a safe and gentle exercise, that doesn’t mean it should be completely effortless. Exercise should still take some work, and walking is no exception. To get the full benefits of walking, make it a goal to walk three miles in about 45 minutes. This will elevate your heart rate and quicken your movements just enough.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re an advanced athlete or a casual stroller, walking is a universal exercise that benefits everyone. All you have to do is get dressed, lace up your shoes, and take that first step.